Everyone likes to help implement better processes for their job and company. Given the opportunity, employees might just submit some ideas that really work and wind up saving the company money and time. Good ideas come from everywhere, so start by using the very people you hired and trust by initiating an employee suggestion process. Outline a process you think will work, and then have a meeting to go over it with the employees for feedback and fine-tuning. Once you have something mapped out, everyone will already be on board and have a clear idea of how the process is going to work. You, of course, will need to create clear guidelines on what will and will not be open to suggestion so you aren't getting lots of silly things like adding a coffee or snack machine to the office, or allowing everyone to go home early on Fridays. Suggestions pertaining to a specific employee's job should also be avoided and rejected. These ideas have to be feasible and beneficial to the company as a whole. Areas open for idea submission could be cost savings, productivity, process improvements, revenue-generation, and morale-enhancement. Ask that along with their submission employees include a comprehensible method of implementing the proposal. This will show that they have put thought into their idea and really care about the issue, rather than handing over the reins to someone else and hoping something gets done. If you yourself do not have the time to go over each idea submitted, you should designate someone to go through them and weed out the ones that are the most plausible. From here, you can go over them and see which will work the best. Always acknowledge the employees that offer feedback and thank them for their thoughts and time. By doing this, the positive reinforcement will keep thoughts flowing and avoid an employee interpreting your silence as a negative. If there are some ideas that are on the right track but not quite worthy of implementation, sit down with the employee who submitted it and brainstorm ways to turn the idea into one that will work. If a particular idea turns out to be a big money-saver or boosts the company's visibility and brings in more customers, be sure to offer the employee who came up with it a bonus of some sort. Consider a gift card, day of vacation, or tickets to a sporting event. When others see that good ideas are rewarded and appreciated, they will do their best to come up with some too.
How To Implement An Employee Suggestion Process
December 7, 2010
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Adam Toren is a serial entrepreneur, mentor, investor and co-founder of YoungEntrepreneur.com. He is co-author, with his brother Matthew, of Kidpreneurs and Small Business, BIG Vision: Lessons on How to Dominate Your Market from Self-Made Entrepreneurs Who Did it Right (Wiley). He's based in Phoenix, Ariz.
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